Penn State ranks high in producing alumni Peace Corps volunteers

January 27, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For the second year in a row, Penn State has been ranked 20th on the Peace Corps’ 2012 rankings of colleges and universities in the large school category. There are currently 65 Penn State undergraduate alumni serving overseas, an increase from last year’s 58 volunteers.

“It’s exciting to me that students at Penn State have a strong interest in participating in service opportunities,” said Nellie Bhattarai, Penn State Peace Corps recruiter. “Peace Corps takes the skills and personality of an individual and uses it to impact others in a community-oriented manner.”

U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who challenged college students to cultivate peaceful ties with the international community by living and working in developing countries, established the Peace Corps in 1961. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to establishing international relationships through work that enhances the lives of struggling communities worldwide.

Penn State Peace Corps volunteers live and work in developing countries on grass-roots projects in agriculture, education, the environment, health and HIV/AIDS education and prevention, small business development and youth development. They are stationed in Africa, South and Central America, Asia and Eastern Europe.

Penn State shares the No. 20 position with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Four other Big Ten universities placed in the top 25 large school category in the Peace Corps’ 2012 rankings including the University of Wisconsin-Madison at No. 3 (107 volunteers), University of Michigan at No. 5 (97 volunteers), Michigan State at No. 7 (90 volunteers) and Ohio State at No. 13 (71 volunteers). Penn State is the only Pennsylvania university ranked within the top 25 universities producing alumni Peace Corps volunteers in any category this year.

For more information about becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, visit

Last Updated February 20, 2012